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New hope for NRI doctors in UK

A judge has permitted hearing NRI doctors' legal challenge against new immigration rules in the UK.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2006 11:31 IST

In a positive response to NRI doctors protesting new immigration rules in the UK, a judge has permitted the hearing of their legal challenge against the regulations which make it virtually impossible for non-EU physicians to get jobs in the government-funded National Health Service (NHS).

In a statement, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) which has launched the legal battle, said the Department of Health and the Home Office have not followed due procedures such as appropriate consultations and undertaking of a Race Equality Impact Assessment when they brought about the new immigration rules.

The case is likely to be heard towards the end of August.

"This is excellent news and the first sniff of victory. This shows the strength of our case and that we have made out the legal argument well.

The icing on the cake is that the court has also ordered that the hearing be expedited.

"This demonstrates that the court appreciated the hardships that delay in resolving this matter could cause to the doctors affected," BAPIO President Ramesh Mehta said.

BAPIO estimates that about 10,000 trainee doctors will have to leave the country half way through their training within months unless the rules are changed.

Raman Lakshman from BAPIO's advisory council said "because of the new ruling, thousands of doctors who had passed the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) test and were waiting for training jobs have lost hope and a large number have already returned home, bitter and angry.

Things must change quickly to reduce the distress to those who are still here."